Living abroad is not only unicorns and rainbows - friends and family is far away, lots of us experience culture shock and changing daily routines. Joyful talks would not be joyful without a reality check, so here are some personal thoughts about the side of living abroad, that no one really talks about.
Life at home goes on without you. We will be missing a birthday dinner of the best friend or maybe our mom, there will be always a bachelorette party we can not attend. Our nieces grow up, parents and grandparents suddenly get older, sometimes we miss out on a lot of the big things in our friends' and family's life.
And then again, life back home goes on without you, but so does your life abroad. No, we can not always take holidays, days off, and be there. Our life is now based in another country, probably in a different time zone with new routines and schedules. And still, it is sad to miss out on things happening back home.
This does not happen often, but… sometimes you may notice a change in a person's face, once you tell them where you are from.
At first, I used to be reluctant telling people I am from Lithuania. Would people think I am here to steal and resell their bikes? Do all the southern Europeans are late to the meetings and speak too loud? You name it.
Personally, I am trying to break all the negative stereotypes by showcasing and spreading the good stories and facts about my home country, its achievements, with a mix of critique and humour. Do not forget to lead by example, break the stereotypes and stop being afraid of what people might think.
I was never good at saying goodbyes. It would struck me to the deepest to let someone go. When I have moved abroad for the first time, I was going on an exchange semester. Everyone was excited about my move, the goodbyes turned into parties, full of fun and hunger for adventures.
Later studies and travels brought more goodbyes into my life, but always with a date of a return ticket, a countdown until the next "hello".
Moving abroad for good changed the concept. It brought the fear of some goodbyes being the last, especially with the family getting older. Some "see you" never turned into another eye contact, but tears.
It’s not always easy, but we make it work.
If you are also living abroad, I would be interested to know your thoughts. Bring it on, I am ready to listen - online or next to a cup of coffee, or beer if it goes better with. And remember, there is always a brighter side!